About this Show

Democracy Now

News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports. (CC) (Stereo)

NETWORK

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING
PG

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 24 (225 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
544

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Harry Belafonte 18, America 16, Us 13, Naacp 9, Washington 6, Newark 6, Cory Booker 5, Obama 5, Chicago 4, U.s. 4, Belafonte 4, Frank Lautenberg 3, New York 3, Amy Goodman 3, Canada 3, Jacqueline Thomas 3, Martin Luther King 3, John Lewis 3, Jackson 3, Ponca 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  LINKTV    Democracy Now    News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news  
   headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports....  

    February 18, 2013
    3:00 - 4:00pm PST  

3:00pm
02/18/13 02/18/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> the decision to let this pipeline come through america is the most fateful decision you'll ever make, mr. president. it will be like jabbing a dirty needle into this country. it will be like lighting a fuse on a carbon bomb. >> tens of thousands rallied in washington sunday, calling on president obama to permanently reject the keystone xl tar sands
3:01pm
pipeline. we'll hear from obama's former green czar van jones, canadian indigenous leader chief jackie thomas and bill mckibben of 350.org. and then to actor, singer and activist harry belafonte. >> americans are the most unemployed, the most courted in the unjust systems of justice. the gun game, they're the most hunted. the rivers of blood that washed the streets of our nation flew mostly from the bodies of our black children. >> harry belafonte receives the spingarn medal, the naacp's highest achievement. he was introduced at friday's award ceremony by newark mayor cory booker, the man who could become new jersey's next senator. >> one who stands and calls the
3:02pm
conscience of this community that we have problems that are deep, we have challenges that are high, we have to understand that the urgency of our path is so here with us in the present -- past is still here with us in the present critic rex he spoke with us after was announced franklyn burke would not the boss frank lautenberg would not seek reelection. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. tens of thousands rallied on washington's national mall sunday for what organizers dubbed the largest climate rally in u.s. history. the "forward on climate" event urged the president to reject the keystone pipeline and commit the u.s. to binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. indigenous leaders chief jacqueline thomas and casey
3:03pm
camp spoke. >> it puts at risk my neighbors to the east of me that live at the tarzans. the government does not recognize these people, and these people have been dying a mysterious cancers, their water is polluted, their animals are sick, and mother earth is sick. >> we're here to make a difference. we're here to be in solidarity with all of us to understand that we have a very slim opportunity to make human life continue to exist. that is our choice. >> groups opposing coal production, nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas participated in the protest as did a number of interfaith organizations. several smaller parallel rallies were held in cities across the country. more after headlines. if the obama administration has confirmed reports it's drafted a backup plan should congress fail to pass congress of the immigration reform.
3:04pm
according to usada, the obama proposal would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal permanent residency status within eight years while containing massive spending on border militarization. president obama returned to his hometown of chicago on friday as part of a post-state of the union tour. he announced the visit in the aftermath of the killing a 15- year-old hadiya pendleton, a chicago teen shot days -- shot dead just days after performing at obama's second term inauguration. obama said the rate of killing people in chicago is equivalent to newtown massacre occurring every four months. >> something profound and uniquely heartbreaking and tragic, obviously, about a group of six-year olds being killed, but last year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of
3:05pm
those victims were 18 and under. so that is the equivalent of a new town every four months. and that is precisely what the overwhelming majority of americans are asking for some common sense proposal to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. >> four separate shootings were reported in chicago in the 90 minutes after obama's speech. just hours later, the sister of a teenager who had sat behind obama on stage at the appeal for gun control was shot dead. the victim, janay mcfarlane, was 18 years old, the mother of a three-month old boy. sectarian discord is growing in pakistan in the aftermath of a massive bombing. at least 85 people were killed on saturday in an attack carried out by the extremist sunni group. pakistani shiite groups have threatened to march on the capital islamabad unless the pakistani government deploys the military to qetta and other
3:06pm
shiite areas. afghan president karzai has ordered afghan forces to stop requesting airstrikes from the u.s.-led nato occupation for some residents of areas he unveiled the ban just days after u.s. airstrike killed 10 civilians, including four children. >> in the district of kunar, an operation was carried out the bombarded a village, killing 14 people, including women, men, and children. tomorrow i will issue a decree stating that under no conditions can afghan forces request for an air strikes on afghan homes or afghan villages during operations. >> iraq continues to face a wave of sectarian violence. on sunday, at least 37 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a series of car bombings in baghdad. the blasts targeted mostly shiite areas.
3:07pm
more than 100 people have been killed in this month. protests continued in bring over the weekend after activists marked the second anniversary the uprising against the u.s.- backed monarchy. on saturday, police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths following the funeral for 16- year-old demonstrator reportedly shot by authorities at close range. on sunday, the bahrain regime claimed it had arrested eight people belonging to a militant cell with ties to iran, iraq, 11 on. protesters -- protests erupted across the occupied west bank on friday in support of hunger striking palestinians in israeli prisons. the prisoners included samer issawi, who was initially released under the 2011 deal that freed israeli soldier belly shalit only to be rearrested and return to an israeli prison last year. his family says he has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days, only drinking water.
3:08pm
the ecuadoran president rafael correa has easily won reelection to a third term in office. he took sunday's election with 57% of the vote, more than doubling that of his challenger. in his victory speech, he said re-election marks a new step in latin americans' growing independence from foreign control. >> the banking class cannot run things here anymore, nor party politics, nor the media or the international monetary fund or the bureaucracies. despite whatever errors we could commit, you can rest assured this revolution will be led by you, ecuadorean men and women. >> rafael correa's international notoriety has increased in the past year after he granted political asylum to wikileaks founder julian assange. the venezuelan president hugo chávez has returned to venezuela
3:09pm
after a two-month stay in cuba to receive cancer treatment. he was forced to delay his inauguration last month in order to continue his recovery. in a twitter message, chávez said he will continue his treatment back at home. thousands of people marched in the maldives friday in support of the ousted former president. he took refuge in the indian embassy last week to evade arrest on a warrant. he is facing charges of illegally ordering the arrest of a judge appointed by a man who ruled the maldives for 30 years before nasheed became the first democratically elected president in 2008. nasheed was ousted last year in what he has described as a coup at gunpoint did he is well known internationally for his activism around the issue of global warming, which he says threatens the survival of the small island country. you can go to democracynow.org to see our full interview with president nasheed when he came to the united states. officials in washington state have confirmed a radioactive
3:10pm
leak at the nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site, hanford nuclear reservation. a single tank is losing up to 300 gallons of radioactive waste, sparking concerns about the facility's other tanks. hanford currently houses more than 53 million gallons of radioactive waste. from a democratic congressmember jesse jackson, jr. has a plead -- agreed to plead guilty to using more than $750,000 in campaign funds on personal items. a federal indictment from prosecutors shows jackson steered donations towards purchases including music memorabilia and items for his home. jackson resigned last year after several-month leave to seek treatment for bipolar disorder. in a statement, jackson said -- he faces up to five years in jail and fines up to two and a $50,000. democratic senator bob menendez of new jersey is reportedly being investigated for allegedly having sex while prostitutes --
3:11pm
with prostitutes crossing at the home of a top donor in the dominican republic. he has denied the allegations and no evidence has emerged to back them up. he is already facing a senate ethics committee probe over his ties to the donor in question. new york city bus drivers have ended a months-long strike after failing to win concessions from new york mayor michael bloomberg. more than a thousand school bus drivers and matrons have been off the job since mid january, seeking guarantees of the job security and the outsourcing of their contracts. new york city has put its deals with the private bus companies that hire the drivers up for bidding, a move that the driver's account for other jobs at the end of this school year. the bus drivers' union says they've given a try to secure a deal with bloomberg and will try again with his eventual successor. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. tens of thousands of people gathered on washington's national mall sunday to urge president obama to reject the
3:12pm
controversial keystone xl tar sands pipeline. organizers of the even described as the largest, rally in history. protesters displayed a mock pipeline with the moderate "separate oil and separate oil and in state." the pipeline would deliver tar sands oil from canada to refineries in texas. the reverend lennox yearwood compared the rally to martin luther king's 1963 march on washington for civil-rights and. speakers included president obama's former green jobs adviser van jones. >> this is it. this is the last minute in the last quarter of the biggest bust important game humanity has ever played. this is it. one thing i know have been
3:13pm
marked in this town, if you do not fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. if you tell fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. i have the honor of working for this president, and i want to direct my message to him. president obama, all the good that you have done, all the good you can imagine doing will be wiped out, wiped out by floods, by fires, by superstars if you fail to act now to deal with this crisis that is a gun pointed at the head of the future. everything you have done.
3:14pm
history will judge you 20 years from now based on one decision alone. that decision is not in the hands of the congress. that decision is not in the hands of any governors. that decision is not in the hands of any mares or dogcatchers'. the decision is in your hands, mr. president, your hands. your hands. the decision to let this pipeline come through america is the most fateful decision you'll ever make, mr. president. it would be like jabbing a dirty needle into this country from canada. it would be like lighting a fuse on a carbon bomb. that is what it would be like doing, mr. president. and you cannot allow that to happen. if the pipeline goes through, mr. president, the first thing
3:15pm
it runs over will not be farmland. the first thing it runs over will not be small towns. if you let this pipeline go through, mr. president, the first thing a runs over is the credibility of the president of the united states of america. that is the first thing it runs over. >> president obama's former green jobs czar van jones. canadian indigenous leader chief jacqueline thomas of the saik'uz first nation trial from british columbia to attend sunday's rally. >> i am a mother of four and a grandmother of one, and i was raised by my own grandmother. she was a traditional medicine woman of my people. i learned early on the value of our environment. she was known as dr. sophie t homas and her words are still
3:16pm
with me today. and what she told us was when we take care of the land, the land would take care of us. [applause] if we destroy this land, we will destroy ourselves. i am speaking on behalf of the alliance from northern british columbia. it translates to people of the earth. i am part of those people from the northern regions of the northwest territories, down to my cousin's, a navajo of arizona. we formed an alliance to stop the enbridge it will project that plans to bring tar sands will been to the coast of british columbia, which will then be put on tankers to go to
3:17pm
the asian markets. the alliance is supposed to irresponsible environmental damaging projects that puts our communities, our water, our culture, our land, our fish, our animals, and most importantly, our plants, at risk free it it puts at risk my neighbors to the east of me that live in the tar sands. the government does not recognize these people. and these people have been dying of mysterious cancers. their water is polluted. their animals are sick. mother earth is sick. enbridge really has brought our communities together in canada because we have had oil spills, and you have also had a oil spills in this country because of oil will spell. it is just a matter of when.
3:18pm
it's built in the kalamazoo, which i chair cannot be cleaned up. they've broken their promises and understand enbridge did that. they spelled oil in alberta, in the territories of my sister, in the northwest territories. and who can forget exxon valdez? of course, also, in most recent memory we've had the bp spill, which was on the news day after day, month after month. they have hurt the brothers and sisters of the nation's. never in my life had ever seen white and native work together
3:19pm
until now [applause] thank you, enbridge, for doing this work for me. >> canadian indigenous leader chief jacqueline thomas of the saik'uz first nation, one of the main organizers of sunday's climate rally with bill mckibben, founder of 350.org. >> all that ever wanted to see, all i ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change, and now i have seen in! [applause] you guys look so beautiful. i have been meeting people all day. in his hometown heroes, here is like those people who have been blocking keystone with their bodies down in texas.
3:20pm
it is people who understand that the fight against fracking and against taking the tops of mountains is ultimately the fight for a living plant. [cheers] it is people who live through sandy and survived the drought, some of whom i got to go to jail with last week. [chers] it is the students at 256 colleges who are now fighting the fossil fuel industry had on, the biggest student movement in decades. [cheers] it is all of you. your the antibodies kicking in as the plant tries to fight its
3:21pm
fevers. [cheers] we have waited a long time to get started. we have already seen the arctic mount. our colleagues in over 190 countries and at "forward on climate tellus' every day about some new drought, some new flood. the easiest answers are no longer enough because we avoided this long. we're going have to start making tough decisions. our theme has to be when you are in a whole, stop digging. [cheers] above all, stop the keystone pipeline. [applause] the president can do that with a single stroke of his pen. and if he does, he will become
3:22pm
the first world leader to veto a big project because it is bad for the climate. [cheers] that would be a legacy and a signal to the rest of the world. and so we will keep making our case to follow him and the secretary of state around the country. and we will unite the fight with the focus on all of the other [indiscernible] as summer comes on, this movement will just pick up. i want everyone to circle those days toward the end of july that on average are the hottest each year. we will try and make them hot politically, to, this year. >> bill mckibben of 350.org come. canadian actress evangeline lilly from "loss" also spoke
3:23pm
sunday. >> it is a shame what my country is doing. i am ashamed we're knocking on your door. i want to stand up here is a canadian and say, i am sorry to the workers in canada and the workers in america who have to let their kids in the eye and of their damaging their future. i want to say, yes to jobs that allow americans and canadians to go home and let their kids in the nine say, "i am fighting for you." >> casey camp, a member of the ponca nation of oklahoma, also attended. she's a oil development is the latest challenge facing her native american nation. a >> now we're suffering environmental genocide after conocophillips refinery thing on our land, as well as many pipelines. and now keystone and keystone xl are disrupting our lives as well
3:24pm
as the lives of our relatives up in the northern country. we're here to make a difference. we're here to be in solidarity with all of us to understand that we have a very slim opportunity to make human life continue to exist. that is our choice. >> casey camp, a member of the ponca nation of oklahoma if you want to go to our website, we have an in-depth page on the keystone xl pipeline on democracynow.org. when we come back, harry belafonte is a major address. he is introduced by a man who could be the next mayor -- the next senator of new jersey, mayor cory booker. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
3:25pm
>> it was part of the campaign,
3:26pm
a grassroots movement to get industrialized countries to reduce carbon emissions every year. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as black history month continues, we spend the rest of the show two prominent figures from the african-american community. on friday night, the legendary musician, actor and activist harry belafonte received the naacp by spring are metal, an annual award for the highest or noblest achievement by an african american during the preceding year or years. the award was presented by newark mayor cory booker, the man who could become new jersey's next senator. booker introduced belafonte just hours after new jersey senator frank lautenberg announced he will not seek reelection in 2014. while he hasn't officially launched a campaign, mayor booker filed a statement of organization of the federal election commission, a legal requirement to begin fundraising for the 2014 race.
3:27pm
this is cory booker speaking friday night at the naacp awards ceremony. >> you all sit down. [laughter] i have this unfortunate experience. any time us are thinking i'm someone special, someone comes and reminds me. yet the spring or recipient named john lewis. i thought it was a wonderful thing. he said, i want to partner you with john lewis. i said, what you talk about, skip? john lewis stood on the front lines of the civil rights movement, staring down alabama state troopers for the cause of righteousness. he led the bridge read with his own blood, carried unconscious
3:28pm
by to the church. he's a champion of the civil- rights movement. and then it switched to my segment cory booker at age 7 fell off his tricycle and scanned his knee. bleating his sidewalk read, it carried to his mama screaming like a little girl. i cannot escape the weight of history. and you'll give me this privilege. i should be standing here letting you all know the death of gratitude i cannot express. there would be no me without the naacp. [applause] so today you all take on the role of my mama and daddy, by
3:29pm
giving me this honor of giving an award that was not turned simply by action. this man is a testimony to the ideals for which this war was conceived. but being that i have now had a friendship with the man whom we shall discuss, i need to talk about him and tell the truth. i first knew of this man who in my household, in a god-given sanctity of marriage, he came -- i knew this man as a little boy because he was the one that caused divisiveness between my mother and father. because my dad begrudgingly liked him, but my mother had a love for him like she should not have felt as a married woman.
3:30pm
and so when they talked about it, i'm always leave the room and he would say to me simply, he is a bad man, cory, he's a bad man, harry belafonte is a bad man. my initial understanding was this was a person who threatened to break out my household. [laughter] i've never seen my mom move like she does to your music. a young boy should not have to see his mother act like that. [laughter] that voodoo that you do? [laughter] i know was criminal when you were growing up. it took me a little while to come around to the understanding he was not a threat to me and my household. because you do not mess with a boy's mama. but i will tell you this. my father used to say something
3:31pm
to me. when i was growing up, i was in high school, i thought i was something special and i would become the president of my class in high school, an all-american football player, on a roll. i father was say, boy, don't you dare walk around here like you hit a triple your born on third base -- you were born on third base. i father would look at me and say, boy, boy, boy, you need to understand that you dream deeply from wells of freedom and liberty that you did not dig. you sit under the shade of trees that you did not plant or cultivate. you eat lavishly from banquet tables prepared for you by your ancestors. now yet the choice. you can sit back and consume and a fat, dumb, and have become or you can metabolize your blessings and let them burn as fuel in a continued fight for
3:32pm
equality, for justice. so i stand here today with his deep sense of gratitude because when my parents talk about drinking deeply from wells dug for me by others, this is a man who rolled up his sleeves when our people were parched and dug those wells. this was a man who without even the understanding that there were be another generation that is me, was planting those trees, preparing that table. you have to understand i was not born until 1969. the battles of the challenges from the freedom rides, so rights -- all of this came before me. when i came into the world, i did not have a road paved for me, i had the road paved with
3:33pm
rest of spilts, whites, guideposts, signs -- road paved with rest stops, lights, guideposts, signs. harry belafonte was not just the music i parents played, he was not just someone they delighted to on the television, that god gave him those gifts and he shared them abundantly, speaking of poetry and artistry that shook the very best of our soul, helped us to celebrate and rejoice in god -- that was not the totality of the man. the greatness of three belafonte is that he never, ever mistook celebrity with significance. [applause]
3:34pm
he never missed a -- mystic popularity with purpose. he always understood the gifts god gave you are not yours alone. that the testimony of a man is how he shares those gifts with others not just when people are watching, not when it is just comfortable and convenient, not to slip below charity of your pocket with outstretched hands, true greatness comes when you take sacrifices and risks, when you are unpopular, when you are cast out, when you're castigated, when people throw bricks and yet you do it anyway. i stand here today proud and honored, humbled of heart because what i have come to know before i even met the man was that this was the standard to which i must uphold if i was
3:35pm
one to be worthy of the legacy i inherited. he never thought leadership was about having everyone looked at you, celebrate you and follow you, the true greatness is helping others discover that they are also great. true leadership is helping others understand they have an obligation to leavd. now let me get you to a point where my idol became my friend. i will never forget this. it was a dinner table around some mutual friends and i had a chance to sit next to harry belafonte. i found out that my dad's suspicions were true. he is a very mysterious man. [laughter] playfulness of heart. he was humble. some folks you feel like you
3:36pm
have to go before them and genuflect and kiss the ring. he treated me like i was one of his. he treated me like my dad would treat me. and more than this, as i got to know his friendship, as this elder statesman, i began to see that his testimony was "don't you dare put me out to pasture." you have to understand, as long as there is breath in this body, blood in these fans, as long as god and amaze me with his spirit, i will be doing god's work. and you better listen to me. let me tell you something, harry belafonte can talk. [laughter] thank god he has got something to say. and now i've heard stories that brought tears to my eyes. tears to my eyes. as he talked about what it was to be on the front lines of the
3:37pm
civil rights movement, to be around the table when you are faced with impossible decisions, to feel the pressure and the fear of death. i will never forget what he taught me that helped reaffirm in my heart the very definition of hope. he told a story about martin luther king himself this bearing for a moment, catching himself in a moment of despair, worried we would achieve this integration but what does it mean when you're integrating people into a house that is on fire with poverty and inequity? what does it mean? he said king despaired about this american house and war in vietnam was separations of wealth and its atomic history, eileen ford in the said -- king caught himself and said, well, i guess of the houses on fire, where does one have to go out there in the the fire
3:38pm
department, too. you see, this is the shift that made me fall in love with this man and make me have this one to be my -- one of my life's great honors to stand before you and present him with this historic medal. harry belafonte has not stopped fighting to put out that fire. he stands and calls to conscience of the community that we have problems that are deep. we have challenges that are high. we have to understand the urgency of our past is still here with us in the present. you see my boys here from newark, yet are not -- [applause] they're still not the norm. we're losing black boys at a rate that is alarming. how could we go from being a
3:39pm
people in chains to now large percentages of our men are in shackles in prison in the land of the free? yet the state in new jersey were 65% of our prison population is black when only 30% of our state is black. there is a problem and harry belafonte wants to talk about it. how can we ask -- have a generation has where malcolm, martin died from gunfire and now we live in a community where black on black crime is at rates we have never seen before, challenging the sanctity, the strength and endurance of our community? i have heard harry belafonte talk about this. how can we have a nation that for years now has been growing in wealth, that real wages have declined so if you are getting well here in the many are
3:40pm
getting poorer and poorer. harry belafonte is talking about this. [applause] and so i get delighted that he is my friend because he is relentless in his joy of god's given life that we have a celebration, but it is also an obligation to do as he does, to speak truth to power. today we are weary read we cannot rest. to wake up the echoes of our past and eliminate our present. life is a testimony, too. it is a call for our national anthem in the negro community. this is what i hear. harry belafonte said, lift every voice because as king said,
3:41pm
change will not relent on the wheels of inevitability. it must be carried in on the backs of people who struggled and sacrificed. this is what harry belafonte singing, and lift every voice. as frederick douglass says, you may not get everything you pay for, the you must pay for everything you get. lift every voice, he is saying to us. because as a great artist and poet langston hughes says, there is still a dream in this land with its back against the wall to save the dream for one, we must save the dream for all. so i know we are giving this award in recognition of a lifetime of service, a sacrifice, the significance. but i tell you what charges me have is that this man is relentless in the present and
3:42pm
purposeful in his future because as long as he walks this earth, he will be calling on us to lift every voice and sing with his beauty, with eloquence, with his gifts to sing as he sung until the entire world resonates with the justice he has been calling for since he was a young boy breaking up families like mine. ladies and gentleman, i bring you my friend, my hero, i bring you the great harry belafonte. >> newark mayor cory booker speaking friday night at an naacp event honoring. belafonte. booker spoke just hours after new jersey senator frank lautenberg announced he would not seek reelection, paving the way for a likely run by mayor booker, who is already set up an exploratory committee. when we come back, we go to the men at the hour, harry
3:43pm
belafonte. stay with us. ♪ [music break] >> seeking fighting and at the
3:44pm
naacp event honoring published singing friday night at the naacp event honoring harry belafonte. he grew up on the streets of harlem and jamaica. he spearheaded the calypso craze, becoming the first artist with 1 million selling albums in the first african-american to win emmy. he became deeply involved in the civil rights movement, one of dr. king's closest confidants, he helped organize the march on washington in 1963. friday night, he was honored by the naacp with the spingarn medal. he began his speech referring to mayor cory booker's introduction. >> mayor booker, that was heavy. [laughter] i don't know i've ever been introduced quite like that
3:45pm
before. [laughter] as you call that the moments that represent the -- as you called out in the moments that represent the crossroads and the path of my life, i am reminded that no matter how i am anointed for what it is that i do and try to do it was never without the knowledge and the joy that what i said and what i still say was really rooted in the courage and strength of some remarkable people who befriended me and counsel to me and he became an intricate part of my journey.
3:46pm
to sit here and watch you do the work that you do in the city of newark, which is not a garden, not a paradise, but a place of remarkable struggle -- [applause] you should be anointed for how well of a job you're doing in newark. [applause] but your mother did not tell you everything. [laughter] [applause] but your daddy was my best friend. what am about to say i had occasion to say a couple of
3:47pm
weeks ago. i was in california celebrating the naacp image awards. what made that event, which i have attended quite often and i have been anointed with the awards along my journey, but what made this one particularly significant was that it was the first time that in the history of the naacp awards, spingarn medal of honor was being platformed. and opportunity to look at the men and women who have achieved so much in the arts, but also to take a moment and pause to look at social concerns as well as our social journey. the speech i'm about to give is
3:48pm
one that they gave the night on television. some of you may have heard it. and for those of you who have not, i will give you the opportunity to hear it now. for those who are hearing for the second time, i hope the redundancy this night drive you from the room. but it will not be long. there is a precise as to the thought and i put those thoughts on paper that it was about america as i see it today and where we stand. the group that is most devastated by america's obsession for guns is african- americans. although making comparisons can be dangerous, there are times
3:49pm
when they must be noted. america has the largest prison population in the world and the over 2 million men, women, and children that make up the incarcerated, the overwhelming majority of them is black. african-americans are the most unemployed, the most courted in the unjust systems of justice. and the gun game, they are the most hunted. the rivers of blood that washed the streets of our nation flow mostly from the bodies of our black children. yet the great debate emerges on the question of the gun, white
3:50pm
america it discusses the constitutional issues of ownership while no one speaks to the consequences of our racial carnage. where is the outraged voice of black america? where and why are we mute? where are our leaders? where are our legislators? where is the church? not all, the many who have been the recipients of this distinguished award, for men and women who spoke up to remedy the ills of the nation, there were
3:51pm
all committed to radical thought. they were my mentors, my inspiration, my moral compass. through them i understood america's greatness, i understood america's potential. dr. w.e.b.bdubois, martin luther king, jr., eleanor roosevelt, fannie lou hamer, ella baker, bobby kennedy, constance rice, and perhaps most of all, paul robeson for me, paul robeson was the sparrow. he was an artist who made those of us in the arts understand the deaths of that calling when he
3:52pm
said, artists are the gatekeepers of truth. we are the civilizations' radical voice. never in the history of black america has there ever been such a harvest of truly gifted and powerful artists, and yet our nation hunters -- hungers for the radical song. in the field of sports, our presence dominates. in the landscape of corporate power, we have more african- american president and leaders of industry then we have ever known. yet we still suffer from abject poverty and moral malnutrition. our only hope lies in the recall of the moment which has been
3:53pm
referred to earlier here, and was my last meeting with dr. king just before he left to go off to meant this to join the strike was sanitation workers. he held a strategy meeting and dr. king -- the meeting was in my home. dr. king during the meeting appeared to be distracted and in a dark mood. when we asked him what was the matter he said, we have come far in the struggle for integration, and although we may be winning some battles, we have not won the war. and i've come to the conclusion that in our struggle to integrate, and we may be integrating into a burning
3:54pm
house. thought we found it deeply disturbing. when we asked if that was his belief, what would he have us do? his reply was, we will have to become firemen. numerous strategies in the quest of our freedom have been played out at all levels of the social spectrum. youth groups, women's groups, labor groups, religious groups, the list goes on and on. yet the opposition persists in its resistance to our quest. what is missing i think from the equation in our struggle today
3:55pm
is that we must unleash radical thought. america keeps up part of the discourse mute. i would make an appeal for the naacp as the oldest institution in our quest for human dignity and human rights. but we stimulate more fully the concept and in need for radical thinking. america has never been moved to perfect our desire for greater democracy without radical thinking and radical voices being at the helm of any such a quest. for the pursuit of justice is all i have ever known.
3:56pm
and i have often said that what defines the true patriot and reading a book, the life of theodore roosevelt, came upon a quote or you said when the state finds itself moving away from its commitment to the rights of the citizens, when those rights are being trampled and misguided, when there are those who would rest from the constitution, the quality it attempted to give all of us in citizens of the nation that only have the obligation, but the right, to challenge the state and those who run it. he said, if we fail to do that,
3:57pm
if we fail to meet that moral criteria, then we the citizens should be charged with patriotic treason. and that struck me because what we're really on is a journey to end the treasonous behavior of the contemporary political scene. and what it is trying to do is -- [applause] steal our votes come to what is doing to our women, and to what it is due to our children, to whatever black people have moments of need and want i would ask -- or i would say, that unless black america raises its voice loud and clear, america --
3:58pm
and it is specifically our responsibility of all cultural diversity that makes up this nation and his promise to be great, the most powerful force is the voice of african- americans, and america will never become whole or become wedded dreams to be until we are truly -- what is dreams to be until we are truly free. >> the legendary actor, musician, activist harry belafonte, speaking on friday night, awarded the naacp's spingarn medal metal. you can go to our website for our full interview with harry belafonte, our archive of interviews. if yodemocracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.
3:59pm
[captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]